- + Cool car damage
- + Easy to pick up and play
- - Its emphasis on killing innocent civilians will divide players
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
Start Replay: “Worth The Ride?”
*This review of Carmageddon: Max Damage was written before the terror attack in Nice, France, in which 84 people were killed by a speeding truck. Whilst I have delayed the posting of this review, I feel compelled to say that I have nothing but absolute disgust for what happened. I must urge you to read on with caution, as its theme is rather upsetting given the recent tragedy.
When I was a kid, the Carmageddon series caught my eye in my local Blockbusters – remember them? As I stood there in the queue with my dad, my eyes were drawn to an N64 box with the face of a crazy man gripping the steering wheel of a car. On further inspection I saw screenshots of cars running over pedestrians.
Alongside the fact it was rated 18, it looked every bit ‘out of bounds’ to a 9 year old such as myself, and the rumours of it being banned in certain countries made it even more alluring to play. Skip forward 16 years and I’m gripping the steering wheel with my own hands.
After spending a lengthy amount of time with Carmageddon’s latest incarnation I feel split in two. It features retro gameplay with a focus on mindless destruction, and whilst my few memories of the original hold anticipation for a then-forbidden game, reality has ended up blurring my excitement.
Its gameplay is pretty simple; drive fast, run over helpless people and destroy any opponent in your path. There’s a campaign present for those playing offline and each mission has its own specific objectives, but head online and you can decide how to battle against friends. Freeplay is also present, should you decide to go on a complete bender without objectives. Over 30 cars are available to ride, and each one has its own personality and character behind the wheel.
Whilst actual driving feels like controlling a brick on ice, it does have some stupid charm. Each level features power-ups which can be used to aid the protection of your vehicle, or increase the damage your capable of. Sometimes tearing around a map with no care for who or what is in front of you feels quite empowering.
Having said that, it’s hard to not feel divided about Carmageddon: Max Damage. On one hand it’s a game that still remains ‘forbidden’ to my inner-child. However, on the other, its blood-filled and carefree approach to mowing down civilians feels a bit wrong at times. You’re either going to mildly enjoy this, or completely hate it.